Khong's Chef Bee Headed to Oishi Thai UPDATED

Categories: Restaurant News

KhongChefBee.jpg
BillWisserPhoto.com
Chef Bee (left) and Khong's house-made Chiang Rai sausage.
Ladies and gentlemen, Bee has left the Beach.

See also: Khong River House Review: Boat Noodles, Cool Digs, and Hot Hooch in SoBe

Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, the Thai wunderkind more commonly known as Chef Bee, said Friday that last week he parted ways with 50 Eggs Restaurant Group's Khong River House. He didn't offer a reason for the split, and 50 Eggs boss John Kunkel didn't immediately respond to emails. Kunkel has issued a statement regarding Arreeratn's departure; read it in full at the end of this post.

What's next for Khong is unclear. The restaurant was named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2013 by the James Beard Foundation. However, Khong also seemed to be built around Chef Bee. The blitz of information that emerged from the restaurant before it opened and in the early days in a way indicated it was built around Bee. Kunkel spent three years in Thailand, where he developed an intense love of the cuisine that emerged from the small villages and towns in its rural north.

Bee, who was born in Chiang Rai in the northern part of the country, seemed the perfect fit for Khong. He brought a repertoire that included everything but the overly sweet coconut curries Americans commonly associate with Thai cuisine.

Meanwhile, he said he's excited to return to Oishi Thai full time. Bee opened the restaurant in 2005 but has spent only a day or two a week there since Khong opened in late 2012.

Now back in North Miami, Bee has his mother with him in the kitchen. She arrived from Thailand earlier this week, and the two plan to spend four years cooking the countless recipes she taught her son as a child as nightly specials.

"She started cooking as soon as she landed in Miami," Bee said.

Tonight, he said, they're offering a tour of Thai street food complete with dungeness crab and durian.

Full statement from John Kunkel of 50 Eggs:

Khong River House has always had a talented team of chefs trained in traditional Thai cooking methods tirelessly working behind the scenes. While Chef Bee handled interviews about the culinary program on behalf of Khong, our recipes are proprietary and belong to the restaurant and our family of chefs at Khong. Chef Bee was no longer acting as part of the family and so we have parted ways with him. The foundation of the culinary concept at Khong, and at all of our 50 Eggs restaurants, has always been centered around a family of chefs. None of our restaurants are driven by a single individual and we have never looked to a single individual for our success or failure. Instead, we support and empower the 100's of talented employees that makeup 50 Eggs Inc. We are a loyal, hardworking team. Bottom line is, the focus for us is to always ensure our guests have the best possible experience. That's never going to change.

-- John Kunkel, CEO & Founder of 50 Eggs Inc.

For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.

Follow Short Order on Facebook, on Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.

Location Info

Khong River House

1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Oishi Thai

14841 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
21 comments
TruthBe4Uspeak
TruthBe4Uspeak

Editor do more research before you write that the core of any restaurant is based on a "chef" that doesn't even know how to make the most basic thai dishes and depends on youtube to guide him..  I think if you would ask any other chefs who truly knows thai food he is not one.

TruthBe4Uspeak
TruthBe4Uspeak

Hope you guys know that bee is not a chef by any standard.  Most of the recipe were created by the other chef in the restaurant and he took credit for everything.   And the reason you don't  get the true thai essence is because the recipe was altered by your so called chef who looks on youtube to make the most basic thai dishes.  The "chef"  doesn't even know how to cook purple rice which most people who cook thai dishes should know.  Everyone knows you have to soak it water first before you cook it lol and i'm not even a "chef"'. 

chito2k
chito2k

Had been there a few times and left mildly disappointed.  As much as I like Thai food, they were missing the essence.  Which is why I stopped going and returned to PanyaThai in north miami beach.  

I hope they keep it real, I did like some of the Burmese noodles, but something was missing.  For the price i was expecting something more original, more Thai.

steve1239
steve1239

It's nothing new for restaurants to hire talented chefs to create concepts and train staff, then get rid of them when everything is up and running.  I've been in the biz for 27 years and it happens all the time.

lizdlcj
lizdlcj

Bummer:/ but I'm not gonna stop going in...they have the best boat noodles and crab fried rice ever!

guest
guest

Interesting that they don't seem to be able to retain their chefs...Sounds like they use them for menus/ideas and then "part ways." 

It's says alot about 50 Eggs and the way they run their company. Happy, satisfied employees stick around for more than 6 months at a time and judging by the continued exodus' of their kitchen crew, they are doing something very wrong from a management perspective. Also, the last 2 times I've been to both Swine and Khong, they've been practically empty, so maybe they are not doing as well as expected, or that they would have us believe.

ykiem1a
ykiem1a

I had a chance to meet the BOH crew and John Kunkel since I dine here once a week and they are awesome!!! I'm sure Khong will still rock it:)

junebugsanch
junebugsanch

Worked with 50 Eggs in the past as a vendor and it seems all of their concepts take a team to create. The Chef and John Kunkel are usually the  face of the concepts, but it takes a whole team to make everything from design to construction to operations to food. Sad to Chef Bee go, but he was only one part of the big picture. Hoping Khong stays great. 

Theodore Hayes
Theodore Hayes

Nebermind...I know...All Chefs leaving 50 Eggs...

Ted141
Ted141

I smell BULLSHIT!

AllCareDental
AllCareDental

Ah!! He was superb Chef. Hardly anyone can replace him.

cremond28
cremond28

Hard not to see the real theme here.  50 Eggs is a "Restaurant Company" that doesn't value Chefs. Chef Mcinnis from Yardbird...GONE, Chef Lamber from Swine GONE and now Chef Bee.  I think it's hard to have a family when no one's voice counts except the CEO

Alex Muriel
Alex Muriel

Super nice guy. His food is delicious. Hope they don't change the menu.

Alex Muriel
Alex Muriel

Wow! Heard gossip that more madness will happen at 50 egss too.

Mike Gordo
Mike Gordo

It means they need to hire a new chef...

Ted141
Ted141

@cremond28 Did not know all these other Chefs had left. Says something about Kunkel. Shortorder should pull that story on Kunkels' 5 favorite restaurants.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...